Articles by Stan Dean

Negative Self-Talk

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We all talk to ourselves all the time. Oh, we may not speak out loud- - although I have met some folks who do. We were in New York City on vacation a couple of years ago and saw a man crossing the street who was having a heated conversation with himself. I am not sure how it turned out. Hopefully he (they) got it worked out!

Anyway, “self-talk” is very normal and we need not thi

nk of ourselves as strange for doing it. However, we do need to be careful and not allow this dialogue to get stuck in a negative mode. The following story well illustrates how this negative self-talk can work against us.

One late stormy night a salesman had a flat tire out in a rural area where he knew no one. When he attempted to change the tire he discovered that he did not have a lug wrench. Through the rain he spotted a farmhouse and figured surely a farmer would have a lug wrench.

As he miserably splashed his way toward the farm he started talking to himself. He considered how late it was and how it was storming- - thus concluding the farmer would probably not even answer his knock on the door. And even if he did, he said to himself, why would he want to help some stranger in the middle of the night with something as small as a lug wrench? Hence, he could find nothing good coming from this.
The more he talked to himself, the faster he walked and the madder he became! When he reached the house and banged on the door a voice from within asked, “Who’s there?” The salesman replied in anger, “You know good and well who it is! It’s me! And you can keep your old lug wrench! I wouldn’t borrow it if it was the last one in the county!”

This story reminds me of another story which Jesus told that ends very differently. He related it to prayer and how our Heavenly Father is the “Friend at Midnight” of all who would seek Him (cf. Luke 11:5f). Yet, there are some still who might say to themselves, “After all I’ve done, He would not listen to me!” or “Who am I that merits any goodness from the Almighty?” This is the kind of destructive self-talk we must avoid.
It is easy for anyone to slip into a negative mode of thinking- - even about the Lord. But we must be ever mindful that He is kind, loving, compassionate and forgiving- - even at midnight!

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